At the Open Book Festival, held in Cape Town in 2019, The Cheeky Natives sat down with Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah to discuss his debut collection of short stories, Friday Black. This New York Times’ Best seller explores the violence, injustice, and painful absurdities of life in the US.
These stories tackle urgent instances of racism and cultural unrest, and explore the many ways we fight for humanity in an unforgiving world. In “The Finkelstein Five,” Adjei-Brenyah gives us an unforgettable reckoning of the brutal prejudice of our justice system. In “Zimmer Land,” we see a far-too-easy-to-believe imagining of racism as sport. And “Friday Black” and “How to Sell a Jacket as Told by Ice King” show the horrors of consumerism and the toll it takes on us all.
The stories in this debut collection won him a spot on the National Book Foundation’s 5 under 35 List this year.
In this conversation with The Cheeky Natives, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah sat down to unpack the every day realities of race, writing and teaching.
We delved deeper into the exploration of these stories that bring to the fore our darkest but also most true realities without the cover of euphemism.
Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah looks our collective soul in the face of race, violence and massive disparities in wealth.
This is an even more timely conversation in the setting of a global pandemic.
Nana is a writer for our times with his finger on the pulse but his writing always looking forward.